I am starting to come around and see the appeal of macadamia nuts. I’ll be honest, until recently, I didn’t really understand fuss about these highly-valued and rather expensive nuts. The macadamias that I’d tasted in my life really weren’t anything to write home about. Admittedly, they were of the somewhat stale, chocolate covered variety brought home by friends and family after trips to Hawaii. But I thought that was all there was to them. Although I never turn down a chocolate covered anything, they really didn’t seem to warrant the hefty price tag. So I never sought them out on my own. But as a diabetic, I work with nuts and nut flours in all capacities and for a twist one day, I decided to give the lofty macadamia another try. I got some beautiful fresh raw ones, and made some delicious, tropical-flavoured muffins (Macadamia Coconut Lime Muffins). I can’t say I was immediately hooked after that, but I did gain a measure of respect for the rich flavour of macadamia nuts.
But I had plenty left in the bag and they were expensive enough that I didn’t want them to go to waste. So they weighed on my mind for a while. I had numerous ideas, but the one that really stuck with me was the idea of macadamia nut tart shells. Ground nuts of all kinds make really great low carb, gluten free tart crusts, and I knew macadamias would be no exception. I thought they might even be better, with their high oil content. A lot of recipes I see that include macadamias leave them raw, but I wanted to toast them to bring out the intensity of their rich flavour. I couldn’t help myself, pairing them again with their tropical compatriot, coconut. They just seem made for each other. As for a filling, I had a few ideas and one of them was lime curd. But that would have been too much like the muffins I’d made earlier. In the end, I opted for a filling that gave a nod to all the chocolate covered macadamia nuts I’ve eaten when friends have returned home from Hawaii!
The Results: Mmm, mmm, yummy. I think I hardly even need to say this. How can you go wrong with macadamias, coconut and chocolate? I will say, I started off with a little too much butter in the crust. The macs themselves are so oily, I didn’t need it. When they were baking, I could see pools of oil at the bottom of each tart crust. It reabsorbed after I took them out of the oven, but I have reduced the butter in the recipe by half. Indeed, it might not need any at all, but I want to be certain that the crust will hold together. The chocolate filling was wonderfully creamy and the perfect complement to the rich, tropical flavour of the macadamia and coconut crust.
Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Tarts
2 cups macadamia nuts, lightly toasted
1 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 granulated erythritol
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
20 drops stevia extract
6 tbsp butter
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp powdered erythritol
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
20 drops stevia extract
Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 24 mini-muffin or mini-tart pan.
In a food processor, grind macadamia nuts until they resemble coarse crumbs. Do not overgrind or you will end up with macadamia nut butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together ground macadamia nuts, shredded coconut, erythritol, xanthan gum, and salt. Stir in beaten egg, melted butter, vanilla and stevia extracts until dough begins to come together.
Divide dough between prepared muffin tins and press into bottom and sides of each. Bake 14 minutes, or until tart shells are lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, gently loosen tart shells from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the filling, melt butter, chocolate, powdered erythritol and cocoa powder together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla and stevia extracts. Spoon chocolate into prepared tart shells and let set, about 1 hour.
Serves 24. Each tart has a total of 4 g of carbs and 2.2 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 1.8 g.